Cosmological implications of baryon acoustic oscillation measurements

Éric Aubourg, Stephen Bailey, Julian E. Bautista, Florian Beutler, Vaishali Bhardwaj, Dmitry Bizyaev, Michael Blanton, Michael Blomqvist, Adam S. Bolton, Jo Bovy, Howard Brewington, J. Brinkmann, Joel R. Brownstein, Angela Burden, Nicolás G. Busca, William Carithers, Chia-Hsun Chuang, Johan Comparat, Rupert A. C. Croft, Antonio J. CuestaKyle S. Dawson, Timothée Delubac, Daniel J. Eisenstein, Andreu Font-Ribera, Jian Ge, J.-M. Le Goff, Satya Gontcho A. Gontcho, J. Richard Gott, James E. Gunn, Hong Guo, Julien Guy, Jean-Christophe Hamilton, Shirley Ho, Klaus Honscheid, Cullan Howlett, David Kirkby, Francisco S. Kitaura, Jean-Paul Kneib, Khee-Gan Lee, Dan Long, Robert H. Lupton, Mariana Vargas Magaña, Viktor Malanushenko, Elena Malanushenko, Marc Manera, Claudia Maraston, Daniel Margala, Cameron K. McBride, Jordi Miralda-Escudé, Adam D. Myers, Robert C. Nichol, Pasquier Noterdaeme, Sebastián E. Nuza, Matthew D. Olmstead, Daniel Oravetz, Isabelle Pâris, Nikhil Padmanabhan, Nathalie Palanque-Delabrouille, Kaike Pan, Marcos Pellejero-Ibanez, Will J. Percival, Patrick Petitjean, Matthew M. Pieri, Francisco Prada, Beth Reid, James Rich, Natalie A. Roe, Ashley J. Ross, Nicholas P. Ross, Graziano Rossi, Jose Alberto Rubiño-Martín, Ariel G. Sánchez, Lado Samushia, Ricardo Tanausú Génova Santos, Claudia G. Scóccola, David J. Schlegel, Donald P. Schneider, Hee-Jong Seo, Erin Sheldon, Audrey Simmons, Ramin A. Skibba, Anže Slosar, Michael A. Strauss, Daniel Thomas, Jeremy L. Tinker, Rita Tojeiro, Jose Alberto Vazquez, Matteo Viel, David A. Wake, Benjamin A. Weaver, David H. Weinberg, W. M. Wood-Vasey, Christophe Yèche, Idit Zehavi, Gong-Bo Zhao, [Unknown] BOSS Collaboration

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392 Citations (Scopus)


We derive constraints on cosmological parameters and tests of dark energy models from the combination of baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO) measurements with cosmic microwave background (CMB) data and a recent reanalysis of Type Ia supernova (SN) data. In particular, we take advantage of high-precision BAO measurements from galaxy clustering and the Lyman-α forest (LyaF) in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). Treating the BAO scale as an uncalibrated standard ruler, BAO data alone yield a high confidence detection of dark energy; in combination with the CMB angular acoustic scale they further imply a nearly flat universe. Adding the CMB-calibrated physical scale of the sound horizon, the combination of BAO and SN data into an “inverse distance ladder” yields a measurement of H0=67.3±1.1  km s−1 Mpc−1, with 1.7% precision. This measurement assumes standard prerecombination physics but is insensitive to assumptions about dark energy or space curvature, so agreement with CMB-based estimates that assume a flat ΛCDM cosmology is an important corroboration of this minimal cosmological model. For constant dark energy (Λ), our BAO+SN+CMB combination yields matter density Ωm=0.301±0.008 and curvature Ωk=−0.003±0.003. When we allow more general forms of evolving dark energy, the BAO+SN+CMB parameter constraints are always consistent with flat ΛCDM values at ≈1σ. While the overall χ2 of model fits is satisfactory, the LyaF BAO measurements are in moderate (2–2.5σ) tension with model predictions. Models with early dark energy that tracks the dominant energy component at high redshift remain consistent with our expansion history constraints, and they yield a higher H0 and lower matter clustering amplitude, improving agreement with some low redshift observations. Expansion history alone yields an upper limit on the summed mass of neutrino species, ∑mν<0.56  eV (95% confidence), improving to ∑mν<0.25  eV if we include the lensing signal in the Planck CMB power spectrum. In a flat ΛCDM model that allows extra relativistic species, our data combination yields Neff=3.43±0.26; while the LyaF BAO data prefer higher Neff when excluding galaxy BAO, the galaxy BAO alone favor Neff≈3. When structure growth is extrapolated forward from the CMB to low redshift, standard dark energy models constrained by our data predict a level of matter clustering that is high compared to most, but not all, observational estimates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number123516
JournalPhysical review. D, Particles, fields, gravitation, and cosmology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2015


  • Cosmology
  • Dark energy


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